India & France agree on the 26 Rafale – M fighters base price

Sources said it is the base price is as that of the IAF Rafales but taken with the escalation in mind.

New Delhi: India and France have agreed upon the base price of the 26 Rafale-M fighters, which will come with several specific enhancements sought by the Navy to enable them to operate from both indigenous and Russian-origin aircraft carriers, media reports have claimed.

Quoting Sources, the report said that the first round of cost negotiations has taken place and further rounds will be held with the aim to sew up a contract by this year’s end.

They also added that the Rafale-Marine, or Rafale-M, will come with several specific enhancements as sought by the Indian Navy.

These will include some of the enhancements carried out for the IAF’s Rafales, including helmet mounted display, low band frequency jammers, better radio altimeter than the one integrated by the French and very high frequency range decoys, among others.

Asked about what specific changes the Navy wants, sources said that it was related to software changes for air to sea mode, changes to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and certain software upgrades needed to enable the aircraft to land on an Indian carrier.

As per its plan, the Indian Navy will be acquiring 22 single seater fighters and another four twin seaters.

Regarding the base price of the aircraft, the sources said it is the same as that of the IAF Rafales but taken with the escalation in mind.

While all eyes are on how much the deal will eventually cost close to Euro 4 billion, which comes to be a little less than ₹40,000 crore. This will include the vanilla cost (or bare cost) of the aircraft, besides missiles and maintenance contracts.

The sources said that the cost negotiations for the Indian side is being led by a joint secretary-rank IAS officer while a Commodore-rank officer from the Indian Navy is also part of the team.

Indian Navy could learn from the French when it comes to operations and maintenance of the same fighters across the navy and the air force, the sources said that a Navy team had already visited Ambala air station.

The IAF has kept one squadron of Rafales in Ambala. The sources said that the Navy team looked at the IAF facilities and that both sides have already discussed the common approach that can be done.

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